Monument Valley Review
The game will take you to the stage selection, which features a very nice spinning portal with the ten available levels. Yes, there are only ten levels in the game, but more on that later. Even the stage selection screen is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen, if not precisely functional.
Entering a level is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Although every level has the same art direction and chill vibe attached to it, they’re very different from each other. Each one has its own unique setting and mood. From dark, eerie environments to gleeful, yellow-tinted backgrounds, there’s no level that feels the same to another.
This game can turn from colorful to eerie in no time. These levels are called monuments, and it’s all part of a background story. The fact that the game actually has a story, something that is so rarely seen these days on mobile games (and even on some console games), is worthy to mention (if a bit sad, since it says a lot about the current state of mobile game development).
Don’t expect something groundbreaking, though. There’s only so much you can tell in a couple of hours with very few interactions between characters. However, it is still nice to have a story to follow through, and not just wander aimlessly without any explanation of what is going on and what are we doing here.
Along the way, said characters will help you understand what is going on. However, most of the time you’re going to be cracking down these puzzles and just being in awe about even the smallest aspects have been thought of and executed in an admirable way.
Your mission is always to reach a goal at the top of these monuments. When this happens, Ida places a geometric object on top of it and clears the stage. Monument Valley is not like common games in this day and age, in which you earn coins, orbs, gems, or similar, in order to buy in-game stuff and move forward, so you won’t actually win any kind of in-game currency.
As you go through each stage, they get bigger and more complicated, with Ida “learning” new stuff (such as walking sideways) and new ways of interacting with the environment. Elements such as the crow people are introduced in later levels to spice things up.
At first, the puzzles are easy, but, as you progress through the game, you have to think more deeply about your next move. There’s no timer, score, or anything related to competition. This game is meant to be as relaxing as possible while providing a decent challenge, and that goal is fulfilled in a superb manner.
Part of the challenge comes from the fact that you have to play around with the positioning of the world elements and your character in order to progress. Once you figure out things, you will see how clever puzzles are, and it is rewarding to figure out what it is needed to do in order to progress.
The only bad thing that could be said about this game is how short it is. Sure, it is a great experience that feels very polished, and probably generating these ten levels took an insane amount of time, but, when finishing the game, you still have this “I want more” feeling. It’s a shame that the game is not longer but probably the game developer had to choose between shipping it in its current state or spending more money and time developing it, and thus increase the asking price.
Graphics and Sound
In case you haven’t noticed yet, graphics are by far the most impressive aspect of this game. They are not flashy or cutting-edge, but the way they have been done is what makes this game special and unique. As previously said, each level has its own unique character and setting.
Animations are extremely fluid and meticulous, while Ida’s movements are limited but fluid. Notable is the attention to detail by the developer, which can be easily seen thanks to the intricacies of each stage.
Regarding the sound, it tries to maintain the same tone set by the graphics and gameplay. Soothing music and simple sound effects are all you will hear in Monument Valley, and they do a superb job in not disrupting what is achieved by the other elements of the game.